NGP VAN acquires startup founded by Obama alums

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NGP VAN has acquired NationalField, a company founded in 2008 by three Obama staffers. 

"When we were looking at 2014 and 2016, we wanted to make sure we were giving our customers what they wanted in terms of integration points and tightly connecting the two products," Edward Saatchi, CEO of NationalField, tells C&E.

NationalField, which is used to track field organizers' performances through a Facebook-like interface, was founded by Saatchi, Justin Lewis, and Aharon Wasserman while they worked on the Obama campaign in Georgia in 2008. "From day one, we've wanted VAN data to be pulsating through NationalField, and so have our clients," Saatchi says.

"The metrics that live in NationalField are self-reported. They [the field organizers] say they made 100 calls, 30 contacts, so you can see how they're doing day by day," he explains. "VAN is where I go and I say, 'I talked to John Lee about this and John Lee is concerned about the environment.'"

NGP VAN is facing increased competition from non-partisan vendors such as NationBuilder. But CEO Stu Trevelyan says this acquisition isn't about putting distance between NGP VAN and its Los Angeles-based rival. 

"NationBuilder has no product like NationalField. They have a product that's more similar to VAN in that it facilitates voter contact," Trevelyan says. "But they don't have any tool that reflects a hierarchical structure of your field team and rolls up reports for everyone on a field manager's team."

Trevelyan and Saatchi were in negotiations for several months before announcing the deal Thursday. 

"Because NationalField is a tool that makes field organizing teams more efficient, our clients will now have an opportunity to be even more effective with their field programs," says Trevelyan.

NationalField's founders, who released a Web video to celebrate the transaction, are set to join NGP VAN as senior staff. 


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